Pac-10 award icing for Clarke (Track & Field)

June 29, 2011

Jordan Clark

More grounded than topsoil, Jordan Clarke of Anchorage is as gracious as he is good.

The Arizona State University sophomore won his first NCAA title earlier this month and is one of the country’s true rising stars in track and field, yet he prefers a quiet life away from the spotlight.

So much so that when he was told today about being named Pac-10 Field Athlete of the Year, he didn’t even know about it.

“Oh, cool,” he told me.

After winning a national championship the Pac-10 award is really just icing on a magical season.

“It’s just been fast, man. It’s just all happened really quickly,” he said. “It still hasn’t completely sunk in, which I’m going to try and keep it that way; stay humbled by it and keep improving.”

With a strong foundation, nothing can rattle the 6-foot-4, 300-pound mammoth of a man.

Not even a subpar performance. The former Bartlett High star stumbled to a 16th–place finish at the USA Outdoor Championships last weekend in Eugene, Ore., bothered by an injury to his right throwing hand.

He finished with a throw of 62 feet, 6½ inches – two feet shy of his NCAA winning mark.

“I’ve got tendon issues, but it shouldn’t be a big deal for too long,” Clark said. “It was kind of an off meet because of that.”

To be fair, the men’s field featured some of the top shot putters in the entire world. He admitted that even healthy he would have had a hard time cracking the top 10. At 20, Clarke was one of the youngest throwers in a field loaded with 28, 29 and 30 year olds.

“I was there more for experience,” he said. “I might have won the collegiate meet but when you go to a meet that big … the United States is notorious for having the best shot putters in the world and the top four finishers are probably like the top six in the world right now.”

Clarke is back in Tempe, kicking it at his aunt’s house. He is taking a much-deserved break after back-to-back indoor and outdoor seasons, resting his brain and his body.

“My season is completely over,” he said. “Next week I will start up with my summer training which is predominately all lifting. But right now it’s kind of me time.”